West County preschool abruptly closes leaving parents without childcare

Published: May. 25, 2023 at 10:12 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - Parents in West County are scrambling to find care for their children after a Wildwood preschool announced they were closing effective immediately. It’s just the latest challenge for parents struggling amidst a childcare crisis.

“We got an email at about 3:00 in the afternoon just saying ‘Hey parents, due to staffing, the school will be closing,” said Amanda Spencer, a mom of a preschooler.

The message from Elaine Rosi Academy Wildwood was sent Wednesday afternoon, leaving parents little to no time to find a plan for Thursday.

For Spencer and other parents, an immediate worry was their children’s graduation set for Thursday afternoon.

A group of preschool parents scrambled to organize an impromptu ceremony to help ease the sudden closure and give them a moment to celebrate.

But the bigger issue is finding care. According to state records, the Wildwood preschool has a capacity of 110, ranging from infants to preschool. They had a state inspection in April and were found in compliance with all licensing requirements. It’s why parents were so surprised by the sudden closure.

“I was not aware of the extent of the staffing issues they were experiencing. No one was. It was never communicated to us,” said Spencer, whose child will be going to kindergarten in the fall.

Waitlists for daycares, especially for infants, can be up to a year long. Other daycares in the area are working to help staff find new positions, and parents are helping one another track down openings for kids.

Since the pandemic, the childcare shortage has reached crisis levels, with thousands leaving the industry.

News4 reached out to the owners of Elaine Rosi Academy but has not received a response. There is a second location in Brentwood, which remains open.